MusicDish e-Journal - May 23, 2018
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Despite Hard Times, The Show Must Go On - CRS Performances
By Cindy Beth Gordon
(more articles from this author)
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The Williams Riley Band
On Wednesday, Golden Music sponsored the luncheon and show with warmup band, The Williams Riley Band and headliner act, Benton Blount. The Williams Riley Band performed a few songs, featuring their debut single, "I'm Still Me" which I really liked a lot. I thought this band had great vocals, rich harmonies and a cool vibe and energy to them; they have a very natural, straight forward, down to earth sound without all the flash and fireworks.

I also enjoyed the vocals, songs and energy of Benton Blount.

Benton Blount
Originally from North Carolina and after making the move to Nashville, Benton began making his mark on the local music scene immediately, signing a record deal with label Golden Music. The singer plans to release his debut album and begin touring this summer. I am looking forward to hearing more from this talented artist.

Later in the day, attendees were treated to a special ASCAP sponsored guitar pull featuring Recording Artist/Hit Songwriter Jimmy Wayne, as well as hit songwriters Kelley Lovelace, Ashley Gorley and Jonathan Singleton. I enjoyed hearing more about Jimmy Wayne's personal story and life, which was not so easy for him growing up. I was also in awe of the power and lyrical quality of his vocals. He did a fantastic job performing hit single "Stay Gone" and others. Lovelace, a heavy hitter among the hit songwriters performed one of my favorite songs - Brad Paisley's "He Didn't Have to Be," and more. Gorely performed Trace Adkins' recent ACM's Single of the Year, "You're Gonna Miss This," and Singleton performed the hit single Gary Allan's "Watching Airplanes" among other songs.

And CRS was just starting. One of the biggest highlights at CRS this year was the ACM sponsored Music City Jam featuring Superstar Tim McGraw and friends on Wednesday. Hosting the show was the multi-talented Producers, Songwriters, performers Brad and Brett Warren of the duo The Warren Brothers. This dynamic duo has written songs for Tim McGraw including, "If Your Reading This" which McGraw sang on the 2007 ACM Music Awards Show bringing the house down.

Lance Miller
Singer-songwriter Lance Miller who has a more traditional sound opened the show and performed a few songs including, "George Jones & Jesus". I really liked that song a lot and thought he did a great job.

A little bit rock and a little bit country describes the next act - duo Halfway to Hazard - two male singers David Tolliver and Chad Warrix from Kentucky who have a unique, fresh sound. Halfway to Hazard are the opening words of "Cold," the first song the duo wrote several years after each had put Kentucky in their rear view mirror and ended up in Music City. A pain-and-booze soaked ache for love gone cold, the geographical reference to the midway point from opposite directions to the Queen City of the Mountains is one they both know well, a literal and figurative mile marker on the paths both took to become Halfway to Hazard.

Lori McKenna
Taking a different turn, Lori McKenna was up next. McKenna who is one of Faith Hill's favorite songwriters appeared with Faith Hill on the Oprah Show awhile ago. McKenna gave a stellar performance performing a few of her songs and the hit single song, "Stealing Kisses" from Faith Hill's Butterflies album.

Singer Catherine Rainey, Tim McGraw's niece performed next. I first saw her perform at Swampstock, a few years ago and she sure has come along way since then. She has a really beautiful voice and a bright future as a singer. I look forward to hearing more from her and all the artists!

Next Faith Hill appeared, looking beautiful as always. She shared a personal story of when she was growing up in Star, Mississippi. She and her girlfriends would get all decked out to see one of her favorite bands perform in a town nearby. That band was Alabama. With that, she introduced Randy Owen from the band Alabama as the next performer. It was a real treat to see him who along with Tim McGraw's band performed a few of Alabama's hit songs including "Mountain Music" and "Tennessee Waltz". Fiddle player Deano of The Dance Hall Doctors did a great job with the challenging solo in "Mountain Music."

Randy Owen
"That was a fun night, and I really appreciate Tim inviting me out to sing," says Randy Owen. "It's always great catching up with people, and that show gave everyone a chance to kind of let their hair down and really enjoy the music."

Headline superstar Tim McGraw concluded the show performing lots of new songs from his soon to be released CD. Some of the songs were so new that he had the lyrics on his mic stand. I really enjoyed the "Girls" and Southern Boy song. Friends, family and fans can look forward to his new CD coming out soon!

Related MusicDish e-Journal Articles:
» Despite Hard Times, The Show Must Go On - CRS Celebrates 40th Anniversary! - Attendees received results from the most comprehensive CMA and CRB funded study (2009-04-13)
» Despite Hard Times, The Show Must Go On - CRS-40, Thursday March 5 - Sony Music sponsored Thursday's Luncheon concert featuring headliner Miranda Lambert and opening act Jake Owen (2009-04-13)
» Despite Hard Times, The Show Must Go On - CRS-40, Friday March 6 - Kix Brooks interviewed Barbara Mandrell during Life of a Legend (2009-04-13)
» CRS Spotlight: Gloriana, The Best Of Today's Nashville - Amid the soaring four-part harmonies and electric stage presence, Gloriana is an exciting new and vibrant force in country music (2009-04-03)

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